With the influx of new technology, a variety of aspects of life have dramatically changed. Communication, academics, and even the sharing of technology bloomed from basic yet important in life to an integral part of both individual interactions and society as a whole. Cellphones, both an advantage and a newfound irritation in daily life, have proved to be one of the most important distributors of such technology. Because of these mechanisms, conflicts—particularly between parents and children—have arisen in households across the world.
First and foremost, the most important advantage of cellphones is that of communication. Both short- and long-distance instantaneous communication have become vital to personal connections. Friends across countries have the ability to connect where it once would have taken hours, if not days. Texting and messaging services are a definitive way to talk to anybody, anywhere. Friends that have been separated by distance or by circumstance—jobs, time, or anything else that prevents face-to-face interaction—can reconnect instantaneously. Crossing boundaries is an incredible feat, but it can come as a disadvantage as well. The competitive nature of some applications like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat can be addicting and distracting in nature, and draws attention away from the present in order to satisfy the competitive nature of those social media applications. Cellphones are, no doubt, a timesuck and a distraction, and yet, there is valid reason for this distraction. Communication, even with its distracting nature and addictive persona, is an essential tool in the modern age.
Phones, additionally, provide academic tools that aid students’ learning and further their understanding of concepts and key theories in subjects spanning the broad academic spectrum. From quiz games in AP French to Jeopardy in AP Biology, cellphones are an integral part of reviewing material and sustaining the knowledge learned in the classroom throughout the unit and the year. Additionally, for research projects or access to online resources, internet access is imperative to have for success both in the classroom and outside of the home (i.e. the dance studio, in the car, etc.) because phones have access to data, which can replace Wifi when not available. Data usage and Wifi themselves, however, have drawbacks: blue light, to name one. Blue light exposure reaches all the way to the back of the eyes, potentially permanently damaging the retina and light-sensitive cells there. Overexcessive use of cellphones furthers this damage, which is irreparable. However, with proper protective measures like blue-light blocking glasses, this potential measure of damage is not a significant concern to cellphone users.
Finally, the difficulty in distinguishing between using current technology to contribute to the present moment and allowing technology to overtake a moment is the turning point of many arguments between generations. Younger generations argue that sharing pictures, videos, and livestreams with elder generations from important events like dance shows, first days of school, and school performances are paramount to communicating pieces of their life; indeed, oftentimes grandparents and great aunts and uncles appreciate visual aid in an explanation, or a picture of their granddaughter or great-nephew in full stage makeup and attire, and are eager to see more. However, elder generations have an equally valid point: if those with cellphones or other technology of a similar nature communicate with their friends that they see more often than the people they are with, the technology can be harmful and annoying to relationships and relatives of a younger person.
In the end, it’s the usage of technology that counts. And even if there are irresponsible moments—many of them—there are always more advantages than the disadvantages it poses.
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